With a career soaring to great heights, Justin Timberlake has achieved massive success—both as a singer and an actor. Known for his catchy songs and producing bops like “SexyBack” and “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”, he’s undeniably one of the greatest stars of the 21st century.
In recent years, however, some long-buried controversies surrounding JT have re-emerged due to movements like Time’s Up and MeToo. As a result, Justin has done the honorable thing and issued a public apology. Here’s why:
Justin Timberlake: The History
Justin Timberlake started out as a child star in the Mickey Mouse Club. From there, he would soon become a famous singer and actor—over the years proving to be a respected artist in the industry. People loved him for his music, dance moves and endearing persona.
In recent years, however, he’s become the subject of some aspersions. The catalyst for his latest apology was an old picture resurfaced from a Vanity Fair photoshoot where Justin was seen posing hand-in-hand with ex-girlfriend, Britney Spears ($36-$72m net worth) while *NSYNC bandmate, Janet Jackson (70m net worth) posed alone in the background. This soon shot out of obscurity and became the latest talking point on the internet.
Public Apology & Controversy
After the picture went viral, Timberlake posted a lengthy apology on Instagram. In his post, he states that he failed to acknowledge his privilege when discussing the incident. He further stated that he should have had the foresight to understand that such a backdrop would be taken too lightly.
Timberlake has been under fire on social media for quite some time now. Such criticism has increased during the MeToo and Time’s Up movements. These campaigns have highlighted the double standards in the entertainment industry— with men not facing any repercussions for their actions, and women often playing second-fiddle to them.
Justin Timberlake’s History of Bad Publicity
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first controversy surrounding Timberlake. The singer has had a long history of damning incidents that have done little to help his image.
Destiny’s Child Fiasco
It all started in 2000, at an awards ceremony in Miami, FL. Timberlake was up against Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name” for the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song. He lost out to the group, and was visibly angered. After the ceremony, he was heard heckling the group from backstage and walking down the hallway of their hotel, banging on their doors.
Janet Jackson and Super Bowl Wardrobe Malfunction
Things got worse for Timberlake in 2004 when he notoriously ripped off part of Janet Jackson’s outfit during the halftime show at the Super Bowl. This, as you know, was dubbed “nipplegate” and caused uproar, with many people accusing Justin of exploiting Janet’s body.
The backlash from the American public was intense and, in a show of media appeasement, Timberlake and MTV both issued public apologies.
Spearmint Rhino Incident
A few years later, Justin would again be put in a negative light after a videotape of him partying at the Spearmint Rhino strip club in Las Vegas was leaked. In the video, Justin was seen making crude comments about women, something which many people considered to be sexist and disrespectful.
The Consistent Double Standards
One of the main points of discussion in regards to bands such as Justin Timberlake and their misdemeanors is the inconsistency of punishments for their actions. It’s clear that the music industry has long been an old boys’ club and women in the industry, particularly women of color, have been overlooked, silenced and disrespected in a myriad of ways.
When Britney Spears was thrown into the public eye, her every move was scrutinized while her male bandmate skated through relatively unscathed. While Justin was derided for his wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl, Janet’s outfit was ripped apart. None of the actors were held responsible for their roles in the choreography and the continuous haranguing of Spears in the press.
Additionally, it’s believed that women such as Janet Jackson, whose career has been seemingly irreparably harmed, have had their value as artists discounted and their reputations as serious stars withheld as a direct result of their gender.
Justin Timberlake’s Latest Public Apology
Justin took to social media to apologize for ‘not valuing or respecting the dignity of women’. Additionally, he said that he should ‘take some ownership’ for his part in the situation and for not speaking out publicly sooner. He further expressed his support for the Time’s Up and MeToo movements and stated that everyone should be given ‘equality and the freedom to express themselves without fear’.
The Reasons Behind the Apology
It’s clear that Timberlake was moved by the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. Furthermore, JT’s conscious effort to step up and take responsibility for his past actions reflects a man that has made a genuine effort to make a change. Moreover, his apology is evidence that he is aware of his privilege as a white, wealthy male in the entertainment industry and recognizes the pain felt by marginalized communities.
The Impact of Justin Timberlake’s Apology
It’s not yet known how his latest public apology will be received by fans, but it has certainly been received with warmth by other musicians and public figures in the industry.
In addition, it’s hoped that this move will be seen as a step forward in addressing the double standards continuously highlighted in the industry. Timberlake’s statement serves as a reminder to celebrities, fans, and industry professionals alike that it’s never too late to make a change and that privilege comes with responsibility.
As a white privilege male in an industry that’s long been an old boys’ club, Justin Timberlake has issued an apology for his part in the double standards that have become clear during the MeToo and Time’s Up movements. Despite the missteps in his past, it’s clear that JT has recognized the need for change and has stepped up to the plate to set a good example.